Seniors are specifically targeted for various reasons. Research has shown some of the reasons are that seniors often have a “nest egg”, are trusting, live alone and have a fixed income. Unfortunately, there are people who focus on our older citizens.
Some of the most common crimes against our seniors involve fraud and con artists.
One of the types of fraud is Consumer Fraud. This usually involves false claims, misrepresentation, overcharging, or failure to deliver goods. An example would be a subject that claims to have extra material left over from a roofing job. The subject tells the victim they can roof their house for a good price. The victim gives the subject a down payment and the subject never returns to complete the job. For more information on Consumer Fraud visit Consumer Sentinel.
Con Artists use schemes to con seniors out of their money. Here are two examples of the Lottery Scheme.
The Lottery Ticket Scam involves a con artist that approaches an individual claiming to have a winning lottery ticket but cannot collect the money because he/she is from a foreign country. The victim is offered the winning ticket, which is actually forged, for a sum of cash. After the victim gives the cash for the forged winning ticket, the con artist disappears.
The Foreign Lottery Scam sends an official-looking letter from people claiming to be lottery managers. Winners are asked to keep quiet because of some “mix-up of some of the numbers” or other excuse and are urged to contact a claims agent overseas. When they do they are asked to send money to cover the administrative cost or taxes and to provide some personal financial information.
Seniors can use the following tips for deterring Cons and Fraud:
- Don’t fall for anything that sounds too good to be true.
- Never give out any credit card, social security, or bank account number to anyone over the phone or on the Internet unless you know the person or organization with whom you are dealing.
- Don’t let anyone rush you into signing anything until you or someone you trust has reviewed it.
- Be cautious of contractors that solicit business door to door.
- If you are suspicious, check it out with the police.
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